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Character + Protagonist

2009-10-23 04:52:13 by robothousegames

Talking to my friend Rob often helps me cement my own stance on certain elements of game design. Wether he agress with my points or not its a really excellent way of me thinking through things I had previously taken as given.

Case in point: I was just recently talking with him about the current state of sandbox games. In discussing the reasons why Vice City works and Spiderman 2 doesn't I finally managed to nail exactly what it is I love about the former.

Character.

In the adventure or action genres of game often the biggest hits not only have a protagonist that the player enjoys playing as but they also have masses of character - not through npcs or other 'living' elements but through the world itself.

Vice City has one of the best characters in gaming in my view - the city itself. GTA3 pulled of a similar although slightly lower degree of this. This meant that the protagonists lack of speech wasn't an issue, the player explored the main character the second they walked around or took quick drive.

I still can't get really into GTA4 months after its release. For me, in chasing the authentic, the city lacks the same vibrance and character of Vice City. Furthermore in a game such as Galaxy - with arguably the most recognisable protagonist in gaming - the hub world still has stacks of character as do all the individual planets that you visit on your quest.

I guess what this leads to is something I mentioned waaay back on here in a previous post. I want my game to feature a place that players simply like spending time in. If the world itself is full of character all on its own, things can only get all the more appealing once it is filled with life in the way of animals, npcs and games.

For me, this time at least, it will be Character first.


Sleepy

2009-10-14 18:04:07 by robothousegames

So the artworking is still forging ahead, despite being knackered and watching one of the duller England Footie matches I've still found a little bit of time this evening to start work on the final few screens of island 1 for my game. It'll be such a s landmark when I wrap up this first island...should really spur on development! Still got my sights set on Christmas for finishing up artworking, gotta have something to aim for. (of course I know I'll be going over the artwork right up until release but hey)

Robostruction 2 coding is still happening too although slower since I've had to restructure to allow it to be expandable - ie. I wanted to be able to 'easily' add new game modes and whatnot if I come up with any of value further down the line.

Considering calling my big game Shenakima - would it be wise to tie it in by name with my instrumental stuff? maybe...I mean the spirit of it is certainly the same.

artists that are making the artworking phase that much more enjoyable:
The Middle East
Akeboshi
Acidman
anything by Mark Kozelek
Thrice (beggars or anything more down tempo)
Aereogramme (sorta rediscovered them of late)


Remarkable artwork

2009-09-17 05:11:36 by robothousegames

Really taken aback by this guys stuff:

http://www.behance.net/Gallery/A-Separ ate-Reality-02/278736

has that same magic for me as Miyazaki.

Wish I wasn't at work right now...got me super inspired to work on the artwork for my game!


Progress is sweeeeet

2009-09-13 14:36:15 by robothousegames

For starters I've settled on a new, and by new I mean old, graphic style for Robostruction 2. Its now far more in keeping with the originals aesthetic. I'm pretty confident that the quality of it far exceeds the original though - of course I hope it does anyway seeing as its been a while!

Artworking for my biggy game is going excellently well. I'm wrapping up scene 16 at the mo of about 40. It might not sound like much but they do vary in difficulty and already some of the hardest scenes are behind me.

Still got my eye on Christmas as a soft deadline for artworking. Hoping that by then I can, at the least, have first drafts of every single backdrop for my game. Then I can finally start looking at coding. Still haven't decided whether to go for a Zelda 1 style scrolling system or just to snap between scenes as a player runs off one side or the other....

Plenty to work out!

Been playing far too much Rez and am a little spaced out.



Soooo I've done a hell of a lot of artwork for the game so far. Looking at a solid quarter, perhaps even a third! I've got a long weekend booked in October so I'm hoping I can get a few days in then to make some good progress.

In the meantime I started on a little side project of sorts. Its a sequel to a game I made a long time ago.

Super Robostruction 2.

The initial coding went incredibly quickly and (given that I only had a spare hour here and there to work on it) I got a workable demo done in only a few weeks. So I started artworking and I think I might of gone down a dud root with this one. I tried a more textured photo based style but I just don't think it suits the feel of the game.

Anywho, I'm going to run it by some of the fellas at the weekend and see what they think...


Ico and things

2009-07-04 10:35:15 by robothousegames

So the sketching phase of my game was finished up a few weeks back so we're into the artworking phase proper...super excited!

Been playing Ico for the first time, its really really cool, I love the sound design in it and its definitely given me some ideas as to how to handle music in my game.

Anywho, the artworking phase is going to take a very very long time but its great to finally have a complete outline of the game. Been busy making further notes on little environmental details I want to add to the game...I can't wait to see the birds flying around and leaves blowing in the wind :)


Depth in strict 2D

2009-04-20 16:39:38 by robothousegames

So far my game has been the strictest of 2D affairs but recently I was working on a scene with mountains in the background. It suddenly occured to me, why on Earth couldn't I 'get to' those mountains? They were being designed as merely background objects...to save the player from the monotony of blue skies :)

Seems so obvious now but I really need to adhere closer to the 'if you see it, you can get there' design philosophy. Of course given my development and design team of 1 I might not reach too dizzying a scale of depth just yet but its something I need to work on for sure.

Working on adding some tintilating background art now that will hopefully inspire deeper exploration of my little game world!


Sketch-O-Clock!

2009-04-14 18:00:32 by robothousegames

So I've been making steady progress with painting up the backgrounds these last couple of months. The next couple weeks I'll be taking a break from this to concentrate on sketching out the concepts for the next island in the game (did I not mention that there were separate islands!?...guess not, silly me!).

The 2nd island is going to be a far brighter affair, the 1st is relatively crowded with NPCs, speech and a little handholding. The 2nd will have more in the way of hint-free games and little toys to find and play with. There will also be far fewer NPCs, I want this to be an island that the player feels they are exploring for themselves. The first island has a dense English forrest appearance, the second will be more about bright and more overgrown vegetation.

Been playing Fable II an awful lot, something I find really engaging in that game is just travelling around and seeing the sights. On the one hand, I'd love my game to have a real sense of scale, on the other hand I can't forget that I'm ultimately trying to design something that people can drop in and out of...and more importantly 'get something out of' without a huge time investment!

Dense & Instantly Gratifying Vs Sparse & Absorbing?


YES!

2009-03-16 17:28:43 by robothousegames

Get In! I'm finally rolling again proper. I've made stacks of progress with the background art for my game - these pictures take hours and hours but I'm really pleased with how its all going.

Also came up with a few ideas for different aspects to the game - been inspired by Katamari Damacy but I'd say the most persistent source of inspiration is Monkey Island. I was thinking quite a bit about Grasshopper Manufacture too, I'd really like my game to be as much of a statement of me as their games seem to be of Suda 51. Of course my game won't be as punk rock - if my game was music, right now, I'd say it was more akin to Mark Kozelek.

Anyway, I'd say I'm about 8-10 % through all background artwork - pretty ace!

Going to get sat down to do some more now.

bye!


argh!

2009-02-17 08:45:55 by robothousegames

my laptop has now decided it hates CS3 and so I'm stuck for the time being. No progress with painting or coding. Driving me crazy! I'm sure I'll look back on this and laugh when I finally get rolling again but its so frustrating.

I've been sketching up stacks of new ideas for scenes for my game. I'm still super-excited about this project, just a little tired about all these stupid setbacks!!